Step 3The third step of the serve is the backswing. At the start of the video I’m in my stance and I’m about to shadow the backswing. Make sure you only focus on the hand that’s holding the tennis racket because we’ve already covered the toss. To begin the backswing I let my hitting arm drop down to my side. When this happens the racket ends up more or less pointing at the tennis court. From here I begin to raise the racket. It’s important to note that, initially, when I raise the racket my palm stays facing the court.

I continue to raise the tennis racket until my tennis racket and hitting arm look like an “L.” That happens at 37 seconds in the video. For obvious reasons, this is called the “L” position. Note that my racket is pointed straight up into the air. Let’s quickly recap the entire backswing. From the stance, my racket drops down to my side. From here, I begin to raise it but I keep my palm facing the tennis court. I continue to raise my arm and the racket until I get to the “L” position.

At 1:10 in the video we watch Sacha Jones’ backswing. Starting in her stance, she begins her backswing by dropping her hitting arm and tennis racket down by her side. At this stage is looks like the racket is pointing at the court. From here, she begins to raise the tennis racket. We freeze the video at 1:25 in to show that, as she raises the racket, she keeps her palm down, facing the court. She continues to raise the racket until her arm and the tennis racket look very similar to an L. To reiterate, the “L” position is where you want to be at the completion of your backswing.

At 1:52 in the video we examine some pictures of John Isner taking the racket back. We start with John in his stance. In the next picture he’s begun his backswing by dropping his arm and his racket down by his side. In the following picture John has begun to raise the tennis racket. Moving in on his hand, you can see that his palm is still facing the court. In the last picture John has completed his backswing. The racket is pointed straight up at the sky and the relationship between the racket and his arm looks like an “L.”


  1. Anonymous says

    realy help full 🙂

  2. Franck Labedan says

    Any chance to have a french traduction ?
    i really like to show these lessons on my tennis blog 🙂 (
    Great job …

  3. Rob P says

    Will, In this video I see that you not only make a backswing but you also rotate your body during the backswing.
    What is the idea behind it?

  4. Bharath L143 says

    Dont u have a serve video for right handers…the vid is great but would be even more helpful if it was made for the right handed 

  5. Siva says

    Why is it important to have the palm facing the court before reaching the L position?

    • Kddfd m kddnk says

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  6. Jake says

    hi will, are able to give more detail on the movement of the backswing when moving the racket/palm facing the floor to when it faces the sky? as i feel pain in my shoulder upon completing this move.. what must i be doing wrong?

  7. Marybeth says

    This has really helped me! Having the palm facing down is key for me and gives a natural progression to the racquet dropping, something I hadn’t been told after years of playing and many lessons. Thanks Will, this site is the best.

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